French bee appoints CEO & President Christine Ourmières-Widener

A French bee Airbus A350 in flight.
Photo Credit: DT Creative via French bee

France’s pioneering smart cost long-haul airline, French bee, has announced Christine Ourmières-Widener as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President.

This significant appointment brings a seasoned aviation, travel, and technology expert to the helm of the airline, poised to steer it towards a new era of global growth in the competitive low-cost leisure sector.

A Remarkable 35-year Career

With a remarkable career spanning over 35 years in the aviation industry, Christine Ourmières-Widener brings a wealth of experience and insight to her new executive role.

Her journey has been marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence and a commitment to driving growth in the European airline sector.

Throughout her career, Ourmières-Widener has consistently showcased her ability to optimize performance and catalyze growth.

Her most recent role as the CEO of Portugal’s leading low-cost airline, TAP Air Portugal, from 2012 to 2023, saw her oversee a workforce of 7000 employees.

Under her leadership, the airline not only established itself as a key player in the low-cost category but also achieved record profitability in 2022.


Championing Industry Firsts

With only 6% of female CEOs in the airline industry today, Christine Ourmières-Widener has emerged as a trailblazer for gender diversity and inclusivity in leadership roles.

Her journey has been defined by a series of notable industry firsts. She became the first female CEO of a licensed airline for CityJet in Ireland from 2010 to 2015, where she played a pivotal role in navigating the company’s sale by Air France/KLM.

Her contributions encompassed everything from securing investor commitments to orchestrating rebranding efforts, fleet renewal, and comprehensive restructuring.

A Legacy of Leadership

Prior to her tenure with CityJet, Ourmières-Widener held key positions within Air France, which saw her become the first woman to head Air France KLM in the United States from 2009 to 2010.

This role saw her oversee 14 airports and manage an impressive turnover of $1.6 billion.

Embracing the Future with French bee

“I am honored to join French bee’s team and lead France’s top low-cost leisure airline to new heights, especially across the US leisure travel market where we are seeing strong demand,” said Christine Ourmières-Widener.

Ourmières-Widener’s advocacy for women in the aviation industry remains unwavering. She looks forward to collaborating with fellow female industry leaders, including Managing Director Muriel Assouline, to pave the way for more women to join the ranks of aviation professionals.

Photo: via Wikimedia Commons

About French bee

French bee is a leading affordable long-haul airline based in Paris, France. Founded in 2016, French bee is the first French smart-cost long-haul airline.

It is also the first affordable airline to fly from San Francisco to the South Pacific, and the first airline to operate solely with Airbus’s newest efficient aircraft, the A350-900 XWB. French bee is a Dubreuil Group subsidiary.

Since 2018, French bee has rapidly expanded its U.S. footprint. Within the past two years, the airline opened three nonstop U.S. routes to Paris.

On July 15, 2021, French bee launched its first East Coast route in the U.S. between Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Paris Orly Airport (ORY), making French bee the only and most affordable non-stop leisure carrier from New York to Paris Orly.

In April 2022, Los Angeles became French bee’s fifth destination with nonstop service from Paris, joining Newark, San Francisco to Paris and Tahiti, and Reunion Island.

Starting December 15, 2022, French bee welcomes its first Southeast route from Miami to Paris-Orly, making it the most affordable nonstop flight from South Florida to the closest airport to the City of Light.

Airline Fleet

French bee owns and operates an all-Airbus fleet of four ultramodern Airbus A350-900s and two A350-1000s. The fleet offers comfortable long-haul flights and advanced technology such as unmatched cabin pressurization, ambient lighting, high ceilings and temperature-controlled air quality.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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